Most bars encourage you to have a good old natter once you’re inside. Spiritland in King’s Cross, however, takes a different approach and asks you to listen. You’ll hear sweet, sweet tunes chosen by an ever-changing cast of DJs and music lovers. This, friends, is London’s first listening bar, and you’re invited to its birthday party.
Based loosely on the listening bar concept pioneered in Japan, Spiritland operates as a bar, café, restaurant and workspace (it’s open all day, until late), and has been treating Londoners’ ears and stomachs for a whole year now. There’s clearly an emphasis on the music (eclectic and great) and the soundsystem (immense and painstakingly designed), but unlike some of the purer Japanese listening bars, Spiritland isn’t just for audio obsessives.
You certainly won’t get scowled at for speaking above a whisper here, and to help the conversation flow there’s a hefty whisky collection – chosen just as carefully as the records, which are spun by a wise and wild cast that’s previously included Hot Chip and Jarvis Cocker. It’s essentially a very cool and carefully thought-out bar with a killer system playing killer tunes.
To celebrate a year of audio goodness, the crew are hosting a week-long programme of music and cultural goings-on. Highlights include a psychedelic audiovisual DJ set from mash-up connoisseur DJ Food (September 10), esteemed selector Michelle Kelly spinning genre-hopping party vibes (Tuesday September 5), UK house ace Mark E upping the tempo (Friday September 8) and music writer John Doran interviewing acclaimed author Roddy Doyle about his latest novel, ‘Smile’ (Thursday September 7).
It’s a strong list of pals for a birthday bash. And although there won’t be any cake at this party, who needs it when you’ve got incredible tunes and premium whisky?
Spiritland, 9-10 Stable St, N1C 4AB.